Bunaken National Park

Bunaken National Park is a group of islands Northwest of Manado in the North of the Indonesian province of Sulawesi (former Celebes). Besides being a national park, Bunaken is also the name of one of the islands in the park. Bunaken island forms the heart of the national park and also receives by far the most visitors. In total, the national park consists of the islands Bunaken, Siladen, Manado Tua, Nain and Mantehage. The park is already protected since 1982 and nowadays more and more tourists visit this area. The area is without any doubt one of the most beautiful places in the world to dive and because it's still relatively unknown, it is not overcrowded and the reefs are still in top quality.

How to get to Bunaken National Park

The islands of Bunaken National Park can only be reached by boat. Before you sit in the boat to Bunaken you usually have to fly a bit. The most simple way to fly to Manado from overseas is via Singapore but you can also take a domestic flight from within Indonesia. If you take an international flight to Manado, it is most easy to use Singapore Airlines to fly to Singapore and from there transit to Manado with Silk Air. A benefit from this combination is that you don't have to worry about your luggage while in transit at Singapore's Changi Airport because your luggage will be directly brought onboard the aircraft that will bring you to Manado.

Diving in Bunaken National Park

Diving is the reason that tourists come to Bunaken National Park. It is one of the most beautiful places underwater. Diving in Bunaken National Park is something that you as a diver have to experience at least once in your lifetime. There are really all kinds of things to see, from large to small fish en lots of options for macro photography. There are more than 55 different dive sites in the park, with more than 100 species of fish, 400 species of coral etc... Many dives will be along deep vertical coral walls. These so called drop-off's start at about 5 meters depth and beyond that the drop-off goes into the endless deep. Quite often there will be a light to strong current. This sounds scary but once you are in the water, it is not that bad. It's all about adjusting your buoyancy and enjoying your dive.

Probably unnecessary to say that most of the dives will be drift dives. You will jump off the boat and the boat will pick you up when you show up again somewhere on the surface. The visibility around Bunaken is always very good, it will be at least 20 meters with a temperature about 25-28 °C all year round. It is sufficient to dive in a short tropical wetsuit although this will be a personal choice. Some divers use a shorty and some divers prefer a double 7mm wetsuit. Photography is a great hobby. Especially really good macro shots can be made here. There is lots of small marine life that is perfectly suitable for taking your pictures. Besides small limpets there are also many species of coral shrimps and crabs that will be nice objects to photograph. Diving schools are easy to be found, almost all resorts have their own diving school or work very closely with a diving school. Working this way, your scuba gear just stays at the resort. You don't have to worry about your diving gear, cleaning and carrying it around is all included in the price.

Bunaken National Park entrance fee

All visitors to the Bunaken National Park (divers and non-divers) are required to pay an entrance fee, in accordance with North Sulawesi Provincial Government Provincial Law Number 9/2002. The entrance fee for foreign visitors is Rp 50.000 per daily ticket (approx € 3,50), or Rp 150.000 (approx € 10) for a waterproof plastic entrance tag valid for the full calendar year.

The proceeds from the sales of the entrance tags are managed by the Bunaken National Marine Park Management Advisory Board and the money collected remains with this Board to fund conservation and village development programs in the park.